What To Know And Consider When Choosing Your Compost Barrel?

Go-Compost-Compost Barrel-A Hand Showing Food Scraps Along With Its Composting Bin - Compost photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com

When Considering A Compost Barrel

A compost barrel is one of the containers for composting wastes with the right amount of moisture, air, nitrogen materials, carbon materials, and temperature. A compost barrel could use an active or passive composting method.
Active composting methods involve mixing the ingredients with a garden fork or unique turning tool. Basically, With the right conditions, active composting increases the warmth of the pile and makes it difficult for pathogens to survive.
Passive composting is where the gardener would add new ingredients to the top of the bin pile, and he will then harvest the finished compost from the bottom of the barrel. Also, Turning the heap might not be necessary if there is sufficient ventilation from the sides of the container.

Above all, some more advanced barrels may have a tube running through the center for ventilation. Compost barrels have been used for decades to make compost. Organic matter could be completely enclosed and confined to prevent rodents such as rats, raccoons, and other pests. The gardener can use a composting barrel to hold compost during decomposition and storage for the end product. Some bin designs are more exposed to the environment than barrels.

What Is A Compost Barrel?

A compost barrel is a type of container that can be turned or rotated easily. Plastic barrels usually serve as compost barrels. The barrel should be filled up with organic matter and left to decompose. They are vents for aeration purposes; more complicated models use pipes to supply oxygen to the compost. The container keeps the materials confined as well as generates heat for the process. Decomposition occurs faster if gardeners turned it regularly. They should design to make the turning process easy; you could roll the barrel to ride it without using a garden or pitchfork.
There are mainly two types of barrels, the horizontal and vertical barrels. They come in large and small sizes and can roll on the ground or rotated. Both types have a vent for airflow.

How To Use Compost Barrels

Using a compost barrel is quite simple; the barrel fills with compostable materials mixed with microbial organisms to heat the pile. If the process doesn’t kick start after a while, the composter should add inoculants to speed up the process. The gardener will turn it in regularly to permit airflow. The barrel makes it easier to turn by rotation. The amount of moisture, temperature, and oxygen available in a pile are essential factors. It determines the decomposition rate. Proper monitoring and management will speed up the process also.

Considerations When Using A Compost Barrel

  1. Quality of Materials: Certain items are unsuitable for composting, such as diseased plants or plant materials that have to get treated with chemical insecticides or pesticides, dairy products, etc. The Gardner would need high nitrogen content for heating the pile to temperatures that would kill plant diseases and pathogens.
  2. Quantity of Materials: You need to determine how much of the compostable organic materials you want to compost. Smaller materials will require a small-sized barrel, while the composter will need larger barrels for more extensive materials.
  3. Location: It is ideal to place your barrel under direct sunlight and closer to your garden for more convenience; the sun helps in heating the contents in your composter.
  4. Size of Materials: Smaller size particles increase the warmth of the pile; the composter should shred large particles into smaller sizes as finer particles tend to decompose faster.

More To Consider

  1. Air Flow: Venting is necessary for composting your items in a barrel. The more the passage of air to your pile, the faster the composting process. When the air is negligible, the system becomes anaerobic and may begin to smell. The barrel’s Proper airflow leads to the evaporation of excessive moisture. Ensure to select vented barrels properly, and you could drill additional holes into the barrel for more aeration.
  2. If your compost takes a longer time to heat up, this indicates that the composter might need more venting on the barrel. The vents on vertical barrel containers help to remove excess liquid from the pile. The juice collected contains nutrients applied to plants when watering.
  3. Note that a deficiency from the other factors could also slow down your decomposition process.
  4. Moisture: Barrels have fitted lid covers that may prevent the evaporation of liquids. If too much water gets into your barrel, adding more dry items helps balance the moisture content. Lack of moisture slows down microbial activities and could stop the composting process entirely.

Advantages Of Using Compost Barrel

  • Turning is easier. The turning process in most barrels is much easier than turning in a bin. The stress of turning could affect the number of times the composter would turn the compost, but this is less tiring in a compost barrel, thereby encouraging frequent turning.
  • It keeps away rodents and other animals: A barrel is a closed system where rodents and other animals do not have access. The Gardner should avoid infestation of the pile in this system.
  • It is neater: The site of a compost pile might not look pleasant. The contents of the barrel should be enclosed while turning.
  • It produces fewer odors: Once the conditions become favorable, the barrel would give off no odors from a barrel.

Disadvantages Of A Compost Barrel

  • It is expensive; unlike clear bins, it is usually sold at a higher cost and costs much more to construct.
  • The composter cannot easily control moisture content: Controlling moisture is more tasking in a barrel since it does not allow excess water to drain quickly.
Go-Compost-Compost Barrel-Tripple Outdoor Colorful Plastic Barrels

Compost Barrels Used For Decades

To sum it up compost barrels are a neat way to compost wastes. These enclosed containers have tight-fitting lids that make it difficult for rats and other rodents to get in. Adding air could be problematic when turning the compost in a barrel, so many composters use a ventilation tube. Though turning should make it more accessible, it may still require a little bit of effort. Many compost barrels use passive composting, where fresh materials can add to the bin, and finished compost harvested near the bin’s base.

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